No matter how many bells and whistles a midnight book release party boasts (kudos to Word Bookstore for booze and bread!), it's hard to beat an appearance and reading by the author herself. Which is why I, along with several hundred other "Hunger Games" fans, waited outside of New York City's kiddie bookstore Books of Wonder to meet Suzanne Collins during the shop's Mockingjay Midnight Madness event — the third novel's "official" launch party.
As mundane as queuing up can be, I always find evesdropping on fellow attendees' conversations to be one of the most amusing perks. I learned that one of the girls in front of me is friends with Jesse Eisenberg and that another had been waiting in line since about 5 p.m. Then there where the "Mockingjay"-inspired tidbits like, "I'm not anti-Peeta" and "I think someone's gonna die." When we finally got into the cramped store, there were a plethora of time-eating activities (we did have nearly four hours to wait, after all). There was a tarot card reader and a magician. Jugglers and a face-painter (bright red flames, anyone?) Prizes like signed copies of "Catching Fire" and snazzy "Hunger Games"-themed coffee mugs were also raffled off.
After what felt like forever (because it kind of was), it was time for the big event — Suzanne! Her editor and fellow author David Leviathan warmed up the audience with a few jokes ("It's amazing no spoilers have leaked. You guys don't know that Katniss ends up with Haymitch!") before introducing the woman of the hour. Suzanne told us that since Katniss is from the Appalachian Mountains, she would be reading the passage with an accent! She warmed up with the interview scene from "Catching Fire," affecting a sort of hillbilly drawl. And then, finally, minutes before midnight, Suzanne cracked open "Mockingjay." "I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather," she began. "This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood." And...if you want to hear more, you'll have to buy the book!
The night ended when we finally (after waiting in yet another line) got our stamped copies of "Mockingjay" (Suzanne was unable to personally sign them because of a hand injury). And then we scurried into the blackness to learn Katniss' fate.
How about you, Crushers? Did you attend a midnight "Mockingjay" party? Are you doing anything special to celebrate the release?